An Awakened Recommendation

This month, the Metro Community Church family was blessed with the presence of Daniel Hill, the author of White Awake: An Honest Look At What It Means To Be White. With unceasing grace, humor and intellect, this man of God spent a full week attending Metro gatherings and events to share his framework for the Christian church’s racial reconciliation. One would think he’d be exhausted, but he never seemed to falter and readily tackled questions about God, Christ, racism and the real work of the church. Pastor Hill willingly engaged all comers.

Full disclosure - I didn’t think I’d be impressed by the book. I tend to think that there is very little caucasian people can teach me about race or racism. I’ve been forced to be aware of the social construct of race since I was 6. I’ve experienced racism in just about every type of environment - at school and work, on the street, in church - been there, done that. I’ve studied the sociology of race and racism. Read the statistics. Lived it. What could Pastor Hill possibly say that would be new to me?

For starters, his passion for the Word, which Pastor Hill knows backwards and forward. Utilizing story after story and verse after verse from the Bible to demonstrate his points, my small group found itself hanging onto his every word, mouths agape. It also sent me scurrying to sign up for a daily bible study session. Clearly, I had missed some things. 

In White Awake, Pastor Hill documents the historical beginnings of race and racism with straightforward language, while providing gut-wrenching real-life use cases. The groundbreaking part for me was Pastor Hill’s use of biblical theology to support every point, including his assertion that both race and racism are sinful and dehumanizing sicknesses that affect us all, regardless of color. 

Pastor Hill wrote White Awake with a white audience in mind. I fully support and encourage this audience to read the book and do some soul searching, and allow themselves to be transformed. However, this book should be required reading for any Christian serious about doing the Lord’s work - in all of its uncomfortable glory. I challenge both people of color and white people to read White Awake and not see the way we are all being called to the cross. I dare you to see the imago Dei in all of God’s children.

Submitted by Tera Moore

An Ethnic Oasis

Last Saturday, our volunteers and leaders came together for an "Oasis Huddle" - a special event for our Metro servant's to learn, renew, and connect with God and one another.

Pastor Daniel Hill, author of "White Awake" led us in a powerful lesson and discussion on racial reconciliation. Many were moved and learned theological truths they have never had to wrestle with.

We heard heart-wrenching stories of sisters in our church sharing how painful it was for them as a black person living in our country. Tears were shed in solidarity and passion for justice was birthed for many.

We have a long way to go in this journey of racial healing/unity, but I'm grateful for our tribe of misfits that are striving towards this unity everyday.

Submitted by Pastor Peter

While You're Awake: Live Interview With Dan Hill

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Please join us live on Facebook tomorrow (Friday) at 12:30pm as Pastor Peter interviews Pastor Dan Hill from Chicago's River City Community Church and discusses his new book, White Awake: An Honest Look At What It Means To Be White.

We hope that you will not only watch, but engage in the conversation - asking any questions, or sharing any thoughts that you may have on the topic of race and reconciliation. You can share in real-time during the broadcast itself, or ahead of time by filling out our form below (or go to www.tinyurl.com/emetroQ-A if the form doesn't display on your device)...

If you missed our last live show, Battles Of The Sexes: Round 1, where we discussed gender inequality and injustice - be sure to watch the full recording below!

See you on Facebook Live!

Submitted by Timm Chartier

Gobble-Gobble: Happy Thanksgiving, Metro!

This past Sunday, after Pastor Peter gave us a great reminder regarding thankfulness from Matthew 20, the Metro family gathered for an amazing Thanksgiving meal.

It is difficult to know exactly how many people enjoyed a meal of hot turkey, dressing, potatoes, vegetables, cranberries, and pie but we do know that over 1000 people attended the worship services and almost everyone stayed for the meal!

It was so good to see a lot of visitors enjoying the meal and better still to see people connecting with each other.

Special thanks to the entire team that planned, prepared, set-up, served and cleaned up. Your servant-hearts were evident to all!

If you missed the meal this year, mark your calendar for Sunday November 18, 2018 – we will save a seat for you!

Submitted by Pastor Kevin

A Single Night Of Worship

As the Singles Ministry gears up for their winter retreat in December, our team's conviction was that we should spend a night in worship and prayer; and so, earlier this month, Pastor Josh came and spoke a word to our singles on pursuing God and what comes with being a disciple of Christ. It was a great night spent eating, worshiping, and praying with our people. We hope to see many more nights like this one.

Submitted by Pastor Doug

One Question For... Pastor Peter

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QUESTION: Pastor Peter, you recently returned from a 3-month Sabbatical - what is a Sabbath and why is it so important to our spiritual health?

PASTOR PETER: In our world, rest is an option at best. For most of us, we do not know how to rest because we are such doers. Even in our relationship with God, we are often doers for Him.

A Sabbath is a weekly rhythm of rest from our full-time job. We cease to do work by unplugging from our phones and computers, and plugging into God's presence. The reason why a Sabbath cannot be an option is because it is a day where you can rest so that God can minister to you. God is passionate about ministering to His children, but we do not allow him to because we refuse to rest. A Sabbath allows us to ruthlessly eliminate hurry in our lives so that God can pour into our lives.

In the Old Testament, there are two main reasons why God calls His people to observe a weekly Sabbath: first, it is to imitate God. God created our world in six days and he rested on the seventh day. Since we are created in God's image, it is critical that we do our best to live it out by imitating God. The second reason why God instructed his people to observe the Sabbath is to live out their freedom from slavery. Sabbath reminded the people of God that they are no longer slaves in Egypt. For 400 years Israel had to work every day. They had no rest because they were slaves. Observing the Sabbath reminded the people of God that they are free and worthy of rest.

Sadly today, many of us are slaves at work and we have no issues with it. I believe the devil uses our vocation to enslave us. This is why we need to observe the Sabbath: to imitate God and remind ourselves that we are no longer slaves.

So how do we observe the Sabbath?

  1. STOP: Stop from being in control. Stop work and anything else you can't seem to control in your life.
  2. REST: Do whatever brings you rest. Sleep more if you have to, take walks along nature's path.
  3. DELIGHT: Do things on your Sabbath that brings you delight. For me, I like to cycle on my Sabbath. I love riding my bike and enjoy God's beauty.

I hope you can take a bold step in observing a weekly Sabbath. God will minister to you so that the other six days are meaningful and effective.

Take the step and may God bless you!

An Up-Standing Decade: Zimele Gala '17

On October 28, 2017, Zimele USA held its 6th Annual Gala at Maritime Parc in Jersey City.

Each year, the gala is our largest event of the year, but this gala was especially meaningful as 2017 marked Zimele USA's 10th anniversary. This year, we celebrated 10 years of community at it's various levels - in the community development programs we support in South Africa, in the Zimele USA community and lastly, in the global community that we share as we bridge the distance from South Africa to the US, becoming a community of God's Kingdom despite distance.

Since our founding in 2007, through events like the gala, Zimele USA has supported programming that has empowered over 10,000 women. As we reflect back on these past 10 years, we are truly grateful for all the support we have received from Metro. It was wonderful to see so many Metro attendees at the gala.

The evening was filled with speeches including an update by Audrey Matimelo, Zimele Wethu Foundation's Executive Director, who shared with us the growth and current programs in South Africa. MaZuma also shared her journey as a participant in the Zimele programs over the last decade, and how she has grown from being a member to a Community Trainer, currently working with women in four villages.

Our Gala Honoree this year was Zimele USA Founder and President (and Metro's Lead Pastor), Peter Ahn, in recognition of his 10 years of service and commitment to the people of South Africa. Pastor Peter's vision of transformation is evident in his dedication not only to our community in Englewood, but to expanding God's Kingdom in South Africa as well.

As always, one of the highlights of the gala was the Special Performance, arranged and choreographed by LaTrisa Harper. This year's powerful performance started with a Zulu song followed by a moving performance of Kirk Franklin's My World Needs You.

Throughout the evening, guests also heard from members of Zimele USA, had the chance to bid on wonderful silent auction items, take photos in the Amazebooths photobooth, and enjoy dinner and dancing. 

To date, the gala raised over $75,000 towards our efforts. Thank you all for your generous support. The mission of Zimele is far from over but with your support, we continue to step closer to achieving the dream of new beginnings in the KwaZulu-Natal region.

Submitted by Angie Bae
Director, Zimele USA
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Trunkless Triumph: Fall Fun Fest!

Last Sunday our Metro families and their friends were able to enjoy our 2nd annual Fall Fun Fest!

Originally planning to hold the event in the school parking lot, we were forced to move all the festivities indoors due to rain. Initially, we worried about how we would have a trunk-or-treat without actual car trunks, however, just like He always does - God showed up in a big way! As soon as the call was made to move the event inside, all of our ministries adapted and flexed their creative muscles and transformed the walls and tables of Grieco Elementary School’s cafeteria into 14 stations - all different, unique, and wonderfully creative!

Families came out to collect candy from the trunk-or-treat stations, pick a pumpkin from our pumpkin patch, play fun fall-themed games, get a tattoo, guess the weight of an oversized pumpkin, and see how being a Christian is almost like being a pumpkin. We even had a parade, led by a big panda, to show off all the creative costumes our kiddos were wearing. We were so thankful because the smiles on children’s faces made it clear that they were having a blast and that the Fall Fun Fest was indeed a blessing to our Metro families and their friends. 

Next year, we hope that the Fall Fun Fest would be an even bigger and better event that would reach those in our community, including the families of the students at Grieco. We hope to have even more trunks, games, activities, and fun!

Please pray and hope with us and consider helping us out for our next Fun Fall Fest. We know it’s a whole year away but it’s never too early to dream!

Submitted by Na Kong
Director of MetroKids

Their Story: Women's "Your Story" Worship Night

The Women’s Ministry hosted the “Your Story” Worship Night last Saturday with over 40 women gathering to hear how God has been moving and working in the lives of the women in our church.

Sonia Kim started the evening off by leading us with worship songs that settled and opened our hearts to hear God speaking through the lives of women we see at church each week, but may never have heard their personal story. Eight women shared their story through words, dance, and singing and it was powerful! So many women with such a heart for the Lord expressed themselves in different ways. Angeline Cazeau shared her poems, Eunah Ahn shared a dance, Glowri Teosoo sang a song a cappella and it was felt through the room! Such talented and gifted women among us. Deborah Berliner, Denise Acias, Helen Yu, and Alexandra Mahari also shared their special message and colored it with their own special flare, showing who they are and even taking a bold step to share even if it was out of their comfort zone. Thank you to all the ladies that shared, your testimony blessed all of us and helped our faith grow.

I also shared my testimony. I've been learning in my personal life that the more I share, the less the devil is able to speak lies into my life. God has been doing some things in my heart these past few years, growing and stretching my faith in ways I had never imagined. Here is where I understand when God says “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways” (Is 55:8).

I used to try to forget and bury down painful memories and keep it in the dark, but the more I brought my hurts, wounds and memories to the Light, the more God was able to heal, and the more I forgave, the more I was able to heal. This pattern seem to work in other areas as well, the more I gave, the more I received, the more I stepped into the things He asked of me, that was outside my comfort zone, the more He showed me His heart and love for all of His children. Sometimes the things God asks us to do is counter-intuitive, but I began to believe in a God that doesn’t think the way we do, His ways are certainly higher and better.

The time afterwards during the refreshment hour was special as well. The night was more than just the testimony and worship - women got to meet other women. We see many faces on Sunday mornings but unless you’re in a more intimate setting it's hard to really make a connection. I saw women making those connections and have real conversations because the testimonies sparked a conversation; many women saying they experienced a similar situation, bonding over common shared experiences. I heard it said a few times that the evening made Metro feel smaller and not so big. There was an atmosphere of true fellowship.

Special thanks to Sonia Kim, Helen Kwak and Pastor Doug Cho for beginning and ending the evening in a beautiful time of worship. Yes, there was one exception to the Women’s Worship Night, and we were thankful for Pastor Doug’s help in helping set up the evening and fine tuning the event!

For more information or to be added to the mailing list email womens.ministry@emetro.org.

Submitted by Jee Cappola

A Single Hike (video)

Last Saturday, some of the singles got together to go hiking at Harriman State Park. Big shout out to Jason and Michelle for helping out with planning, and to Isaac for being our trail guide/blazer and videographer extraordinaire! And of course, thank you God for PERFECT hiking weather!

The hike was pleasant and quiet and ended at a beautiful lake on the mountain and then lunch afterwards. It was really cool seeing a lot of new faces come out and fellowshipping together aka mini photoshoots everywhere.

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I'm looking forward to closing out the year with the singles community! If you're single, be sure to register for our retreat our upcoming winter retreat - https://tinyurl.com/metrosinglesretreat2017. We look forward to seeing you there :)

Submitted by Doug Cho
Singles Pastor

Getting Into S.H.A.P.E.: Student Volunteers' Retreat

Dedicated volunteers who serve Metro's youngest, from the Nursery right on up to our Youth Group students, gathered on the weekend of October 14 for our second Student Ministry Volunteers' Retreat in serene Stony Point, NY.

The retreat started off on Friday evening with a delicious and healthy dinner prepared by the retreat center staff. Anna Hong and Kathy Chun led us in a sweet and powerful time of worship, and then, of course, we could not let the night end before card/board games, conversation and silly games led by Pastor Clay Chan and Steve Bang.

We spent all of Saturday with Pastor David Hosang exploring how God has uniquely “shaped” us for his purposes. Pastor David steadily walked us through each part of S.H.A.P.E. which stands for:

Spiritual Gifts
Heart
Abilities
Personality
Experiences

We discussed what we care about, our Meyers-Briggs Keirsey analysis, our inclinations and talents. We had a chance to meet with our ministry teams to reflect on how our learnings connect with the students and children we serve. It was clear that our day-long exploration into this topic was just a small part of our life-long journey in understanding how God wants us to serve and grow.

If you serve in our student ministries weren't able to make it to this year's retreat, please connect with your ministry leader for resources to explore your own S.H.A.P.E. Learn more about how God has given you unique abilities and interests that are designed to be used to serve the body of Christ and draw you closer to Him! 

If you are not currently serving in our student ministries, but are interested, please contact Ancy at ancy.post@emetro.org for more information. Our students and children are always ready for caring and patient adults who love God and want to serve!

Submitted by Janet Kwon
Director of Preschool Ministry

One Giant Leap For Metro Womankind!

Metro's Women's Ministry is now official! 

Over 50 women - of all ethnic and cultural backgrounds, age groups, and life stages – came together last Sunday, October 15 to fellowship together, enjoy lunch, and hear the vision for the ministry from the core team: Lisa Ra, Jee Cappola, Deborah Moore, and Reba Kim. 

Over lunch, the Metro women heard the vision of the ministry from these leaders. Jee and her team of UG leaders will facilitate support groups for women, including a small group modeled after the "Celebrate Recovery" curriculum and a small group for single moms. Deborah and her team will form the "Caring Hands" arm of the ministry, reaching out to women who may need extra support because of illness, grief, new babies, and other life events. Lisa and Reba will be developing spiritual formation opportunities for women such as small groups and mentorship programs. 

Betty Ho Sang, Linda Swanson, and Pastor Sanetta Ponton blessed us with prayers and a brief history of women's ministry at Metro. We ended the afternoon in one large circle holding hands and praying together, hopeful for the ways God will unite the women of Metro toward greater healing, community, faith, and calling. 

For information about our upcoming events or to join our mailing list, please contact us at womens.ministry@emetro.org.

Submitted by Reba Kim

The Gospel According To Pumpkins

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Pumpkins, pumpkins, and more pumpkins!

Preparation for the 2nd Annual Fall Fun Fest is in full swing. We invite all of our Metro families - young and old - to join us in the Grieco Elementary School parking lot this Sunday, October 29 from 3:30-5:30pm for an afternoon of fun and, lots and lots of pumpkins!

There'll be a trunk-or-treat, a pumpkin patch, tattoos, fall-themed games, and we’re even sharing the gospel using…you guessed it - PUMPKINS! Children are encouraged to dress up in their costumes, but nothing violent or scary, please. 

Bring your family and friends to enjoy all of the activities, or come and help out with the event (and enjoy all of the activities too)!

If you have any questions about the Fall Fun Fest, or if you’d like to find out more about how you can help, please email Na Kong at na.kong@emetro.org. We’re so excited and we hope you are too!

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Submitted by Na Kong
Director of Kids - Pre-K to Grade 3

My First Men's Retreat

Last week, I went on my first-ever Men's Retreat, which was held at Pilgrim Pines Camp & Conference Center in Swanzey, NH. When it comes to Jesus' parable of the seeds, I relate to the seed that falls among thorns - because of the grind of daily life - so I was thankful for the privilege to get away. Pilgrim Pines is a beautiful place; in the mornings it was easy to spend alone time with God while overlooking picturesque and serene Swanzey Lake.

Metro's own Pastor Kevin Swanson spoke at the retreat and he shared about what it means to be a neighbor to the people God has placed in our lives. We studied and reflected upon the Parable of the Good Samaritan. We also discussed the challenges of being neighbors in our country during this incredibly divided time.

We went hiking during the retreat and hiked the 3,166-foot-high Mount Monadnock and I got my butt kicked! I'll never hear the end of it since I was the youngest of the ten Metro guys who did the hike...but I was the slowest. Dennis Kwon, Temmy Park, and Pastor Kevin Swanson were the fast crew that raced to the top - they're like machines! The views from the top of the mountain were beautiful. I think there's something special about being outdoors; Jesus also spent intentional time in the wilderness. 

The brothers even taught me how to play the board game, Settlers of Catan. What a complex game, but it was fun!

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I was very humbled and thankful to be around men from whom I can learn so much. Everybody has their own unique testimony, family background, and wisdom from life experiences.

Special shout-outs to Pastor Kevin for delivering God's Word and Paul Ra for driving us in the church van! He drove every mile.

Until next year, Pilgrim Pines!

Submitted by Rob Shin

Bowling Over: Singles Bowling League

Metro’s first ever bowling league has come and gone!

For the past few weeks this September, the Metro singles hit the lanes to hone in on their bowling skills while building relationships with fellow singles. It was a blast being with both new and familiar faces for the few weeks of this first season and I want to thank the 60+ singles that signed up for this league and bowled their hearts out. Congratulations to Will’s Team for taking first place, and a special shout-out to those who served as captains of their teams - thank you for serving in this capacity as facilitators, cheerleaders, and welcoming faces. I can’t thank you enough.

The motive behind the bowling league was simply to bring people together consistently in order to build lasting relationships. The captains picked to lead the teams were mostly UG leaders or leaders at our church, while their respective teams served as mini UGs for the four weeks that the league went on. The core team's hope was that this would cause people who signed up for the league to join an Underground Group for the long term, which we believe came to fruition. Community building has always been something that was important to our team, and we are extremely blessed by how our community is responding! 

Whether it’s our lunches after service, going apple picking, or attending a game night, we’re super encouraged to see that there is a hunger in our people to do life with brothers and sisters in Christ. Even though the year is closing out, there is much to look forward to in the coming months (Hiking on Oct. 21, Winter Retreat from Dec. 8-10)! Come through, fam! We hope to see you at the next event ☺

Submitted by Doug Cho

Pastor's Q&A Panel - October, 2017 (video)

Facebook was down yesterday, but that didn't stop us from broadcasting our live Q&A panel with our Metro Pastors, thanks to YouTube!

If you missed yesterday's broadcast, you can watch the full video here...

As Peter mentions during the broadcast - these Q&A panels are not for us, but for you - and so we invite you to submit your question/s or suggest a topic for our upcoming shows by clicking on the button/link below...

Tune in next month!

Submitted by Timm Chartier
Director of Media & Communications.

Ready For Launch: Metro Women's Ministry

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"A new command I give you; love one another.  As I have loved you, so you must love one another." - John 13:34

Metro, we believe God is at work. Earlier this year, He opened an invitation for several women to come together and pray for the rebuilding of the women’s ministry. Despite our limitedness (we are career women, moms, wives and already actively involved members of Metro), we believed that God was at the helm of this much-needed ministry, and in fact, this was His ministry! It had to be His doing, not ours. It was at our pre-launch event back in July - our single women’s focus group - when it all became very tangible for us. Our single women showed up! We saw and heard their excitement, support and enthusiasm as they shared their hopes, needs and challenges as single women at Metro. Honestly, that was what we needed to see. That was evidence of what God was preparing in the hearts of women for the women of Metro and beyond.

The single women focus group - July, 2017

As we focus on building some firm foundations, our vision is to provide a way for women to connect and minister to one another through fun events, small groups, prayer and service—all through the spirit of His love.  

We are also excited to announce some new sub-ministries! Jee Cappola and Christine Cook will be leading Metro’s first ever women’s support group. Bernice Garcia will be continuing the much-needed MetroLOVES, a group for our single moms. And we are thankful for Metro’s first ever Caring Arms Ministry, led by Deborah Moore, which will serve those in need related to childbirth, illness, hospitalization and loss.  

If you would like to get involved with any of these groups, you can email us at womensministry@emetro.org. Better yet, we hope you will join us at the launch meeting this Sunday, October 15 at 1:30pm in the Media Room where you can meet the core team, hear the vision and upcoming plans of the ministry and learn how you can get involved.  

We are also preparing our kick-off event on the evening of Saturday, October 28 - a “Your Story” Night, where we will gather to worship God through the sharing of our testimonies via song, written words and more.

We hope to see many of you there!

Got Q's? Get A's: FB Live This Wednesday!

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We hope you enjoyed Pastor Peter's first sermon since returning from his 3-month sabbatical.

Please join us on Facebook Live this coming Wednesday, October 11 @ 12:30pm as Pastor Peter returns to our all-star Q&A panel to share a little from his recent time away, as well as tackle some of the tough questions, surrounding current events and much more...

Got a question for Peter regarding his sabbatical? Have recent events got you asking questions about your faith, or the church? Did Peter's sermon present any noodle scratchers? We want to know!

To submit a question, please click on the button below (or click this link)...

A Home Run: Family Baseball Outing

At the close of August, families and members of Metro's Men's Ministry (M3) and Metro's Softball Team were given the opportunity to enjoy a beautiful Sunday afternoon of baseball, food, and fellowship at Palisades Credit Union Park - home to the Rockland Boulders, a baseball team from the Canadian American Association of Professional Baseball (Can-Am League). 

Those who attended enjoyed the Boulders’ exciting 8-2 win over the Quebec Capitales with great seats behind home plate, while snacking on hot dogs, chips, and drinks. Kids were not left out of the fun either - a cute train lapped around the stadium, a busy mini-golf course and playground occupied the area adjacent to right-field, and the mascot, Boulder Bird, walked around pumping up the crowd. 

It was an amazing time for all ages, with the proceeds from the event going towards the medical expenses of a family at Metro. Many thanks to James Lee, of the Metro Leadership Team, for setting this event up.  

We hope more people can join us for games next season, but if you're interested in attending events like these in the future, be sure to be on the lookout for more announcements from M3!

Submitted by Philip Chen